The Rewards of a Job Well Done

“There is no credit for preventing something that did not happen.” – David S. Alberts

Much of the management activities in an organization is preventative – to prevent something bad from happening. The natural inclination of leadership is to view that everything operating correctly is the norm. So a lot of preventative activity is simply invisible. Unless something negative happens, that is an aberration and, of course, is noticed!

So many managers have an unintentional disincentive. If a manager improves preventative activities, the job is not considered more well done, as it is still the norm. One is not rewarded for most changes so why make them? The only exception is if there are cost savings, or some other financial improvement associated with the new preventative activities.

As negative results receive a lot of attention, it encourages risk aversion. Why take the risk that a change may have an unforeseen failure point? So there is a stronger tendency to maintain the status quo, rather than make changes.

Will leadership ever see the prevention of problems as a value added activity?  If not, then innovation will not be encouraged.



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